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Sungjoon Heo

Trigger Warning: This case note contains references to subject matter and material that may be traumatising and/or upsetting for survivors of sexual assault and/or indecent assault. Reader discretion is advised.

An unidentified woman known only as Client A made a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission (“HCCC”), alleging that a massage therapist had sexually touched her during a massage. The massage therapist concerned was Mr Sungjoon Heo, a remedial massage therapist at ‘Doctor’s Hands’ Therapeutic Clinic in West Ryde NSW 2114.

Client A alleged that Mr Heo had attended her residence in or around June 2014 to provide her a remedial massage. During this attendance, she alleged that he touched her breasts several times, rubbed her groin, and touched her underneath her underwear.

The HCCC commenced an investigation and found that Mr Heo had contravened clause 3(1) of the Code of Conduct for non-registered health practitioners (for health practitioners such as massage therapists) under the Public Health Regulation 2012, which requires practitioners to provide health services in a safe and ethical manner.

Mr Heo did not respond to any of their correspondence and departed Australia in April 2022. Due to his departure, the Commission was unable to determine if he posed an ongoing threat to public health and safety as they were not able to interview him. While he was not residing in Australia, the Commission identified the risk that he may return and resume working as a massage therapist.

While the Commission could not appropriately assess the potential danger that this resumption could pose to public health and safety (such as further assaults), the significance of Client A’s evidence and the severity of the conduct she alleged was sufficient to warrant the Commission making a prohibition order. This prohibition was made under section 41A (2)(a) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (NSW):

Mr Sungjoon Heo is permanently prohibited, under any circumstances, to provide, or cause to be provided, any massage services, either in paid employment or voluntarily, to any member of the public.

This prohibition will continue until he attends an interview with the Commission, and he can satisfy the Commission that he does not pose a risk to public health and safety. Therefore, this prohibition will continue indefinitely, provided that Mr Heo continues to avoid the Commission.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault and/or indecent assault by Mr Sungjoon Heo, one of our expert solicitors can advise you about your options in an obligation-free consultation. You can call us on (02) 4050 0330 or book an appointment online.

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